Economic Data 4/12/12: Nothing Good Here

PPI (Producer Price Index): Hotter Than It Looks

I don’t like this at all.

The Producer Price Index for finished goods was unchanged in March, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Finished goods prices rose 0.4 percent in February and 0.1 percent in January.

That sounds good, right?  No change?

Uh, wait.  Looking at the table you see a problem — core was up 0.3%, which continues a trend that since December has been in the range of 0.2-0.4%, with an average of 0.27% (in other words, above the four-month average.)  The negative adjustment was all for energy, which is due to strong seasonal adjustments usually applied to gasoline (but those moves happened earlier than expected — specifically, they happened last month.)

So removing that we’ve still got a problem.  The only good news is that crude goods fell in price, but crude goods have been quite volatile over the last year.

I’ll call this consistent with the trend at this point, which is flattening in general, but the “it’s all good” meme you may hear is misplaced, and fuel cost push-through remains a problem unless we start to see a strong and sustained decline in oil prices.

Discussion (registration required to post)

Jobless Claims 4/12: Not Good

There’s just nothing here to like…

In the week ending April 7, the advance figure for  seasonally adjusted initial claims was 380,000, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 367,000. The 4-week moving average  was 368,500, an increase of 4,250 from the previous week’s revised average of  364,250.

Once again adjustments were the order of the day for the previous week (big surprise); the unadjusted and adjusted numbers this week, however, were basically flat (unadjusted was 381,875) which is a whopping +62,530 from the previous week.

The big table (now showing numbers to March 24th) shows regular state numbers coming in somewhat and the EUC and Extended numbers also dropping.  The latter is likely roll-off but the former may be actual jobs addition; all of this comes in reasonably-well with the employment report of last week.

In general there’s nothing to see here other than what I’ve pointed out — there’s no growth in meaningful terms and as a result the premise behind the “we’ll all be ok” meme continues to be false.

Discussion (registration required to post)